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A Constant Battle

by Cheryl Brooks

About two years ago, my new doctor recommended that I lose some weight. My liver enzymes had been elevated for a few years, which my previous doctor never seemed to notice. A CT of the abdomen for an unrelated problem had shown some fatty liver disease, which was the probable cause of the abnormal labs. He said only a few pounds would make a big difference, otherwise, I was looking at the possibility of developing cirrhosis of the liver, even without excessive alcohol intake. 

As it turned out, since the previous lab work was drawn (which were the results he was looking at), I had already lost about five pounds, mainly from working my ass off all summer. The results were still in the high end of normal, so he encouraged me to lose even more weight, and it didn't have to be a lot. Another five pounds would be enough.

Something in his manner suggested he didn't think I could do it.

He was wrong. I started on a diet (the Mediterranean diet minus sugar, bread, flour, pasta, potatoes, and rice) and exercise program, and I lost thirty pounds.

That was about a year and a half ago. Since then, fifteen pounds have crept back.

Why is that? I don't think I'm eating that much differently than I was before, although avoiding bread and sugar in the American diet is REALLY hard. Anyway, I kept trying, but to no avail. The stress of not losing made me binge, as did other stressors in my life--and there have been some doozies during that time. 

I've read various articles about how losing weight actually makes it easier for you to gain it back. With that in mind, the fact that I hadn't dieted in at least ten years--perhaps even longer--probably explained why I was able to lose those thirty pounds in the first place. At first, it was very encouraging. I was losing about a half a pound a day. With results like that, who would be tempted to stop?

But time, stress, and my love of all things related to cooking have taken their toll. Where I once weighed 190 lbs, I now weigh 205. Depressing, right?

You said it, sister. VERY depressing. I'm now looking at an appointment with said doctor later this month, a week after I go to Gatlinburg with a couple of buddies from my hospital days.

It's not going to be pretty.

I keep going over in my mind what I'll tell him, but it all boils down to this, which has been the story of my life: If I'd never tried to lose weight to begin with, I probably wouldn't be as heavy as I am today. Every diet has taken off twenty pounds and then saddled me with thirty more.

I'm not alone. I read somewhere that eighty to ninety-five percent of people who lose weight gain it back. Turns out there is an enzymatic feedback loop that causes this. I wish someone would figure out a way to block that enzyme for good without creating havoc in an already stressed body.

Hasn't happened yet. And being something of a stress eater, I have a feeling that I'll have gained even more by my appointment on the 24th.

Look out, Gatlinburg. You're about to be binged into oblivion.


  1. I totally understand , Ive Been there too. Even 54 pounds heavier, because after working at a desk job for 40 years, two kids and not exercising regularly. I was at a pre-Type 2 diabetic. So I tried the low carbs, route. lost 20, I couldn't maintain it. I needed my carbs for energy. So I decided to try WW. And now 75 lbs later, I'm still attending the meetings and doing the freestyle. And I'm lighter than I've been in 40 years. I get a sweet tooth still., but I count my binges and get out and just walk more for a few more days., and get back on my healthy balanced WW lifestyle. And I go to the workshop and talk about it, and the stress or fun that made me binge . My doctor is much happier. Maybe you can try WW, you can might be surprised. And one more thing. Your books still make me smile. I don't need a plate of cookies and milk to enjoy them either.

    1. I'm probably going to have to go the WW route at some point, although the diet I've been following is fairly similar. Getting to the meetings is the kicker. I'm a long way from nowhere. Glad it's worked for you!

  2. I have always had a weight problem, as well. Working 12 hour nights was the killer. I was nearly 300 pounds after just a few years. I ate healthier than everyone I worked with & was very active on my days off. I got comments frequently from people I worked with about the differences in our diets. Big Macs vs backed chicken, etc.
    I never dieted, but I did change the way I ate slowly over time. Plus, I changed to day shift. I lost about 100 pounds without much trouble at all. That was about 17 years ago. I have kept it off dispite mobility problems leading to early retirement.
    If my doc ever says a word about my weight, I have no trouble reminding him about the 100 pounds I lost & have kept off. I have never been on a “diet” program, per se.
    Weight is such a touchy thing, especially with women. So much emphasis is put on size & appearance!
    Do the best you can & don’t beat yourself up. We each come from different gene pools & that can make a huge difference.
    Good luck.

    1. I worked 12 hour nights for a very long time, and it messed me up in lots of ways. It just isn't a normal lifestyle! That and being from one of those gene pools that really likes being overweight hasn't helped. Plus, I really like to cook. Sometimes I wish I didn't. So glad you're at a healthier weight now, and I hope you can continue to maintain it!

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